Reproducibility and clinical significance of pre-ovulatory serum progesterone level and progesterone/estradiol ratio on the day of human chorionic gonadotropin administration in infertile women undergoing repeated in vitro fertilization cycles

Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2015 May 13;13:41. doi: 10.1186/s12958-015-0037-9.


Background: The objective of this study was to explore the cycle-to-cycle reproducibility of serum progesterone level and progesterone/estradiol (P/E2) ratio in the final step of triggering oocyte maturation in patients undergoing repeated consecutive controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for in vitro fertilization (COH-IVF) treatment and to investigate the clinical parameters associated with serum progesterone concentration and P/E2 ratio.

Methods: We retrospectively studied 524 cycles in 203 infertile women who underwent two or more fresh COH-IVF cycles from July 1998 to May 2012 in a university hospital IVF unit. The patients were divided into groups according to the number (2, 3 or >=4) of total successive IVF cycles with successful oocyte retrieval. The within-subject reproducibility of serum P and P/E2 was tested by calculating intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs). Multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the association between patient variables and pre-ovulatory serum P level and P/E2 ratio.

Results: The ICCs in women who underwent 2, 3 and >=4 IVF cycles were -0.052, 0.163 and 0.212, respectively, for serum P concentration and 0.180, 0.168 and 0.148, respectively, for P/E2 ratio. All ICCs for both serum P and P/E2 ratio were indicative of poor reproducibility. The number of oocytes was significantly positively related to P concentration, and endometrial thickness was significantly negatively related to P concentration and P/E2 ratio.

Conclusion: The cycle-to-cycle reproducibility of pre-ovulatory serum P concentration and P/E2 ratio was poor in individual patients, and these fluctuations were more cycle- than patient-dependent. The number of oocytes was the most significant factor relating to P concentration. By using milder stimulation approach to produce fewer oocytes in the next cycle is a strategy to overcome the high serum P concentration, while clinicians should consider each patient's general condition including the age, ovarian reserve, embryo grading and the capacity of frozen-thawed embryo transfer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / administration & dosage
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / therapeutic use*
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Linear Models
  • Ovulation Induction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Progesterone / blood*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol